by Sharlyn Petit
Bellevue Police say that icy windows and failure to look to the right contributed to a teen driver’s collision that killed a 77-year old Seattle woman in December. The woman was first hit by the 18-year old driver, and then possibly struck by a second vehicle.
Police determined inadequately defrosted windows resulted in the teen not being able to see the pedestrian. (Did you know it’s against the law the drive unless your icy windshield is fully scraped?)
Police also stressed the importance of wearing bright, visible clothing while out walking. Stories like these remind us to devote some extra time on safety when the temperatures drop. Here are a few tips to help you defog and defrost your windshield.
Give yourself extra time. Resist the urge to start and go, and give your car a few minutes to warm up. Just like it takes us time to crawl out of bed in the morning, your car needs to wake up slowly, too.
Don’t kick it in drive until you’re all clear. Defrost quickly by turning on the air conditioner (to dehumidify) and blast the defroster on a warm setting. Also, rolling down your windows to bring in cooler air will lower the temperature and reduce fog – this helps if your windows get foggy while driving, too.
Turn off the re-circulation feature. This setting only recycles passengers’ body heat and breath and increases humidity. You need fresh, dry air from outside to replace the humid air that’s fogging up the glass. Also, don’t forget to turn on your rear defroster and side window defrosters if you have them.
Learn some tricks to beat frost. If you consistently run late and your car is parked outside, cover your windshield with a towel at night (tucked under the wipers), or try applying a de-icing product. Securing plastic bags with rubber bands to your side-view mirrors means you won’t have to chip away at ice with a mini-scraper or credit card in the morning.
Hands off the interior windows! Try not to use your hands or gloves to wipe away fog unless it’s an emergency. Oils and other dirt end up on the glass making visibility worse, and the only way to get rid of the streaks is with a proper cleaning.
Fog and frost may delay your routine, but make sure you have full visibility before you head out on the road.